Leicester City’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough this afternoon was more than just a good result and an important opening three points. It was a statement. It demonstrated a never-say-die attitude which will prove to be priceless this season. It told 23 other teams in the Championship that Nigel Pearson will demand more from his players, who have the ability to turn a poor first-half performance into a positive result from a difficult situation.
The Foxes are becoming somewhat of a bogey team for Middlesbrough, having won on three of their last five visits to the Riverside. However, when Zak Whitbread sustained an early injury in the first half and Sean St. Ledger’s own-goal put Tony Mowbray’s side ahead before the break, Leicester seemed destined to fall to an opening day defeat. The visitors improved in the second half and drew level through Danny Drinkwater’s 20-yard strike on the hour-mark, before Jamie Vardy netted the winner seven minutes later with a sublime curling effort from the edge of the box.
The introduction of substitute David Nugent appeared to influence the game in favour of the visitors, demonstrating his importance to the team. The link-up between Nugent and Vardy for Leicester’s second goal was indicative that the two could soon become Nigel Pearson’s chosen strike force this season. Pearson will know he has numerous options in attack, but injury to Whitbread did highlight a shortage of defensive players. Liam Moore appeared to play well after making an early substitute appearance after just nineteen minutes, but Leicester may be forced to take venture into the transfer market before very long if Whitbread’s injury is serious enough to prevent him playing for a few weeks.
Leicester will face Leeds United at the King Power Stadium on Sunday 11 August and will hope give the Blue Army something extra to cheer about after a great opening day victory.